A Ten-Year Retrospective from the Program Director

The McIntire School proudly offers a premier M.S. in Commerce. Widely considered one of the world’s leading master’s in management programs (read: MiM vs. MBA), the curriculum eclipses the status quo of business education, offering students skills invaluable not just for a job, but a lifetime. The secret to this program’s success, however, lies in the detailed approach taken by our faculty. Ten years after the debut of the M.S. in Commerce program, we spoke with Program Director Ira Harris about the inception of this unique degree and what makes it special.

What inspired McIntire to develop the M.S. in Commerce program?
We felt that there was a new and underserved population of undergraduate students, and we wanted to create a program that appealed to these pre-experience students who were searching for business skills on top of their bachelor’s degree.

Rouss Hall, Home of the McIntire School of Commerce

Describe M.S. in Commerce to someone who has never heard of it.
We aim to immerse students in the study of businesses, competition and the ever-changing context of markets. Of all factors weighing on an educational experience, the discipline of “learning to learn” is one we hold near and dear. We aspire to educate our students to anticipate change and understand what brings about that dynamism. Our program specifically marries liberal arts with business acumen and reframes students’ toolkits for the marketplace.

What is your impression of the program’s students?
McIntire students come to us motivated to change their student profile for many different reasons. Most of our students prefer a job in business but came to this realization later in their undergraduate careers, so we benefit from this desire to study business academically. We as faculty enjoy teaching students who constantly strive to embrace new challenges and we designed our program in that light.

Which element of this program are you most proud of?
There are a handful of students who come to us seeking a specific role, however many are still facing the daunting question of what they want to do when they grow up. The aspect of this program that brings me the most pride is how we have been able to help students pursue fields of profound interest to them. Furthermore, I enjoy observing how McIntire helps our students reach these goals.

Application deadlines are rolling through June 1. To learn more about the program and application process, check out the program’s home page here.

– Ryan Perry, Class of 2018

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